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AMREF Flying Doctors Evacuates Boy Suffering From Infection after Surgery

17 year old with Gastro Intestinal Infection evacuated from Moyale


At 8:00 PM of Monday 22 September 2014, a call came through to the AMREF Flying Doctors Control Center. A young man aged 17 needed urgent medical attention, in Nairobi, following complications after undergoing surgery for intestinal obstruction.

Moyale is a small town next to the Kenya/Ethiopia border that mainly serves as a market center to the people in North Eastern Kenya.

When the 17-year-old patient Mohammed Noor Issah, was first diagnosed with Intestinal blockage he was referred to the Kenyatta national hospital, where he was to receive specialized treatment. However, the family opted to have the surgery done across the border – in Ethiopia – due to proximity hence it would cost a lot less time and resources compared to the rugged ride to Nairobi.

After the first surgery in Ethiopia, Mohammed contracted an infection – confirmed through a second surgery in Moyale. Mohammed was therefore given a second referral to the Kenyatta National Hospital for specialized treatment.

After some quick deliberation especially due to his condition, a decision was made to evacuate him and a request made to AMREF Flying Doctors.

Because Moyale airstrip is a day-only operation the team decided to make an early morning take off on the next day. Using the King Air 5Y-FDB and a flight team comprising Dr. Patrick Kontina, Flight Nurse Anthony Kihara and Captain Sam Pertet, the mission stared off at 09:30 AM.

After a 2hr 15 min flight the team landed at the Wajir airstrip where they were met by the patient and family members who had all travelled in small saloon car.

There was a quick transfer of the patients’ relevant medical records to the AMREF Flying Doctors medical team, after which the patient was moved from the vehicle onto a stretcher and into the aircraft for stabilization. There was a brief delay at the airstrip since the family had not carried any of the patient’s documents for proof of citizenship. Due to the proximity of Moyale town to the border it is common for some Ethiopian or Somali nationals seep through the border – often leading to some hesitation by Immigration officers at Wilson Airport in Nairobi with allowing the patient through the airport.

The delay was finally resolved as Mohammad’s elder brother who would accompany him to Nairobi, agreed to leave his ID card with Immigration officers at the airport as they await a family member to deliver the boys birth certificate to Nairobi the next day. The team was thus airborne by 12:30 hours and after a relatively smooth flight during which the patient was carefully monitored the team landed back at Wilson Airport at 14:45 hours.

Waiting along with the AMREF Flying Doctors Ground Ambulance the team was the boy’s father at Wilson airport who followed the ambulance to Kenyatta National Hospital casualty and accident unit, where he was handed over to await surgery.

Charity evacuations such as these are carried out free of charge.  AMREF Flying Doctors is extremely appreciative of all those across the globe who fundraise for us so we can keep doing what we do best- saving lives.  Charity evacuations are supported by various sources.  Internationally by those such as the staff of IBM Sweden and AMREF Italia and locally by companies such as J W Seagon, a Nairobi based insurance company that makes regular donations throughout the year, particularly to this programme.

Pilot: Capt. Sam Pertet
Doctor: Dr Patrick Kontina
Flight Nurse: Anthony Kihara
Aircraft: Caravan 5y – FDB
Total cost: US$.  7,060.00